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UPDATED: Olalla resident lost home, personal possessions, burned in large fire

These family photos were pulled from a destroyed van where they were stored by Arlene Russell. Her vehicle was one of several damaged by fire that took place on Sunday at an Olalla property.
June 12, 2013 - 5:04 PM

Trust fund to be created for burned man

PENTICTON - A fiery explosion has left nothing for a local Olalla man when he gets out of Vancouver General Hospital.

All of Randie Walker's possessions, including the motor home he lived in at 1450 Main St. in Olalla, was destroyed by a blaze made worse by a burning propane tank. All he has now are first, second and third-degree burns.

Robbie Kilborn said his brother was living in a motor home on his property. All of Walker's possessions were in the vehicle when the fire broke out. A Mercedes Benz and five other vehicles were also destroyed. A pickup truck was only minor damage.

Kilborn was contacted by Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson and together with Kilborn's family a donation trust fund will be set up at Valley First Credit Union.

Any help would be appreciated, Kilborn said. Walker was already on disability for a brain and spinal injury following a four-storey fall. Now he is on a respirator and will require skin grafts. He, Kilborn and their family have limited income so Kilborn hopes to get enough funds to build his brother a new place to live.

"We gotta do something," he said. "None of us have the money to do it."

Family pictures and personal items can never be replaced though. All those were lost in Sunday night's fire.

Kilborn was asleep in his home that night when he heard an explosion. He went outside, saw the motor home on fire and his brother using a fire extinguisher. Kilborn grabbed a garden hose and started spraying. The Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department was called but they were busy with a grass fire. They showed up 20 minutes later. The two brothers were on their own for the time being.

Kilborn tried to put the fire out but a propane tank had caught and was spraying flame "like a blowtorch," he said. "It just kept spreading."

Kilborn was worried the flames would reach his large white house but fortunately the wind was with him.

Arlene Russell also lost something that night — a large truck filled with some of her belongings. She lived elsewhere but she left the truck on Kilborn's property. She was picking through the debris on Wednesday. She said she could replace items one buys in a store but she can't replace the family photos and personal possessions.

A pile of picture frames lay at her feet. A photo of two of her children were on top. Russell's graduation photo was sitting in a cracked frame nearby.

UPDATE: Kilborn said donations can be made to the trust fund, number 933945-201 at the Keremeos Valley First Credit Union. Donations can be made by credit card. Call 250-499-5524 for more information. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at squesnel@infotelnews.ca, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1

Robbie Kilborn of Olalla stands next to a destroyed Mercedes Benz. His brother's motor home and other vehicles were destroyed in a fire Sunday night.
Robbie Kilborn of Olalla stands next to a destroyed Mercedes Benz. His brother's motor home and other vehicles were destroyed in a fire Sunday night.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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